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Tampa FL Products Liability Law Blog

Snakebite-proof boot demonstration shows personal injury threat

Florida residents who like the outdoors but want to protect themselves against the dangers they may be exposed to while hiking or hunting may wish to take note of a recent recall of Rocky Brands boots. The boots are designed to protect wearers from snake bites. The company determined that the boots can fail to protect a wearer's feet, exposing him or her to personal injury that may be deadly. The recall followed a demonstration of the boots that ended in the demonstrator receiving a snake bite.

Rocky claims to be the leader and innovator of snakebite-protecting boots. The company stated that the snake-resistant fabric used in the manufacturing process is supplied by another company, and this material failed during the demonstration. The boots were described as camouflage-patterned rubber boots that are 16 inches tall.

Personal Injury: Why is Listeria the cause of so many recalls?

Florida consumers may share the concern of others about the prevalence of food recalls due to listeria contamination. Listeria is a bacterium that can cause severe personal injury, and could even be deadly. Older people are especially vulnerable, along with young children, pregnant women and anybody with undermined immune systems.

However, listeria is commonly found in foods that are not usually associated with bacterial infections. A food safety specialist at a university in another state provided more information. While refrigeration kills some bacteria, listeria thrives in wet, cold environments. Although listeria can be killed in subsequent procedures such as pasteurization, food products can be infected by contaminated additives or unsanitary production facilities.

Duodenoscope allegedly caused severe personal injury and death

The Food and Drug Administration is planning to investigate multiple matters involving duodenoscopes. At the same time, a hospital in another state is joining forces with the family of a deceased patient in taking legal action against Olympus Corp. This is the company that provides the U.S. medical market, including hospitals in Florida, with these devices. The family claims the death of their loved one was caused by personal injury he suffered after being infected by a contaminated scope.

Complaints about dangerous debris remaining on the duodenoscopes, despite proper disinfection procedures, have been reported for some years. Nevertheless, Olympus failed to issue an alert in the U.S. prior to a media report relating to seven superbug infections in February. A spokesman for the plaintiff hospital says this failure put many lives in danger, and it was unethical and irresponsible. It is alleged that Olympus intentionally withheld information from physicians across the U.S., endangering the lives of thousands.

Personal injury: New CPSC rule will control holiday light safety

Many residents of Florida and other states suffer injuries caused by defective holiday or Christmas lights every year. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently released a federal rule that will hopefully prevent incidents of personal injury. The final rule will become effective on June 3.

After that date, all holiday lights will be tested according to three performance standards, and at least one of those standards will have to be met. There will be a prescribed minimum size for the wire and for the ability of the lights to withstand the wear and tear to which such lights are typically subjected. These are the first two standards to be considered. The third relates to protection from incidents when overheating occurs because the wire cannot accommodate the current when the lights are plugged into an electrical socket.

Machine spout causes personal injury risk of tainted ice cream

Florida consumers may be aware of the nationwide recall of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams that was announced in April. The recall included all the company's products, and the temporary closure of all its scoop shops was also announced. This followed the discovery of Listeria contamination that could potentially pose personal injury risks.

In a status update, the company's CEO reported that the origin of the Listeria contamination had been discovered during swab testing at the manufacturing plant. Results of these tests revealed that the presence of Listeria was found in the spout of a machine located in the production kitchen. How the machine was contaminated is still unknown.

Proposed bill may prevent personal injury from cosmetic products

Florida consumers may not be aware that the Food and Drug Administration has no control or regulation powers in the personal care product industry. Cosmetic companies cannot be forced to recall products, nor does the FDA have the authority to require the reporting of personal injury or adverse health consequences from using personal care products. A proposed bill that is currently before the U.S. Senate aims to have federal regulations amended to provide the FDA with more power over the manufacturing and packaging of cosmetics and other personal care products.

Not only women are threatened by uncontrolled personal care products but also men, teenagers and babies. An environmental group asserts that the average woman applies 12 products -- containing as many as 168 chemicals -- to her body everyday. Men are apparently exposed to an average of 85 chemical components per day, and teenagers use an average of 17 products everyday. This includes products for facial care, body care, shampoos, soaps, shower gels and more.

Undeclared milk in Starbucks cookies can cause personal injury

Florida residents with food allergies are usually meticulous about checking the ingredient information on food packaging. When companies fail to provide accurate information, undeclared allergens may put the health and lives of consumers at risk. A company who manufactures Black & White Mini Cookies for Starbucks recently announced the recall of some of these cookies due to inaccurate ingredient information on the wrappers that may cause personal injury to unsuspecting customers.

Sweet Sam's Baking Company apparently received reports from two customers who both had allergic reactions after consuming Black & White Mini Cookies that were purchased from Starbucks stores. Both customers had dairy allergies, and the company realized that the 2-ounce double packs of cookies did not indicate the presence of milk. The company is recalling all Black & White Mini Cookies that were packaged under the Starbucks label prior to April 23, 2015.

Trek Bicycle recalls 900,000 bikes posing personal injury risk

Florida cyclists who own Trek Bicycle models between 2000 and 2015 may want to take note of a recently announced recall. In collaboration with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Trek Bicycle recalled 900,000 bicycles nationwide because of a quick-release skewer that may cause an accident with severe personal injury if not used correctly. The company says the recall is not due to a defect, but rather a potential risk for cyclists who are unaware of the proper way of using the skewer.

The recall involves bicycles that have front disc brakes with a quick-release lever that opens 180 degrees and makes contact with the disc brake. If the lever is left open, it can get into the brake rotor, causing the bike to stop abruptly. Such a sudden stop can cause a devastating accident with life-changing injuries.

Heated seats pose personal injury threat to motorists

Heated car seats may provide comfort for motorists in Florida on winter days. However, heated seats may not be as safe as would be expected. Analysis of questionnaires sent out by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that 1,800 consumers reported incidents of malfunctions in heated seats in vehicle models from 2000 through 2014. Complaints included cases in which heat was produced that caused severe discomfort and could lead to personal injury. Overheating seats were reported to produce smoke and smoldering, flames and damage to upholstery and clothing.

It is reported that there are no federal guidelines or standards to govern manufacturing of heated seats, and the experience of a vehicle owner in another state shows that pursuing restitution after such an incident can be problematic. A woman reported that she was driving a pickup truck, manufactured by Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles, on Jan. 24 when she became aware of a burning smell. She contends that the driver's seat overheated to a degree high enough to burn holes in the seat cushion and her coat.

BMW recalls 91,800 Mini Coopers due to auto defects

Florida motorists, along with others nationwide, are likely concerned about the large numbers of vehicles that have been recalled over the past year. The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act authorizes the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to prescribe safety standards for vehicles. When auto defects related to safety are identified, or when vehicles fail to meet federal standards, the NHTSA has the authority to require manufacturers to recall such vehicles.

However, vehicle recalls are sometimes initiated by the manufacturers themselves if auto defects are detected. BMW announced the recall of Mini Coopers that will be effective on May 1. The company announced that 91,800 Mini Cooper and Cooper S models manufactured from 2005 through 2008 are included in the recall.

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